What role do tuition and fees play in financing higher education?
As student tuition and fees have come to play a larger role in the financing of higher education worldwide, the importance of student loans in facilitating access has increased commensurately. For many families, higher education would be out of reach without the assistance provided by lenders–the government, and/or private loan companies.
Aside from their role in assisting students, however, student loans have also served a revenue-generating function for the organizations that provide them, including through securitization. With the recent economic crisis, however, loan revenues have suffered, and in some cases, providers have turned to unethical practices–for example, bribing college and university financial aid officers to steer students towards particular lenders, as happened in the United States in the last few years.
There have also been some concerns that student loans would become more difficult to obtain in the current financial environment, which some speculate could impact students’ ability to pay for higher education, and ultimately, negatively affect access rates. The United States, however, has responded to this situation by introducing legislation that would expand grant programs, which may mitigate the problems with student loan programs. Overall, at this point, it is too soon to tell what will be the long-term global impact of the financial crisis on student loans.
What resources are available on this topic?
Given the increasing role of student loans in funding higher education, along with a number of high-profile scandals involving U.S. student loan companies, the topic has received substantial attention in the media in recent years. The “general resources” section includes articles about student loans and scandals surrounding them, and the “student loans securitization” section provides resources on securitization specifically. The “directory of student loan programs” section lists companies and agencies that provide student loans worldwide.
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